Aug 11, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles outfielder (rear) pours a bucket of ice water on third baseman Manny Machado (seated) as part of the ALS ice bucket challenge prior to a game against the New York Yankees at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Boston College's Pete Frates and The Ice Bucket Challenge Making A Difference

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One of Boston College’s own, Pete Frates, started a viral sensation that has gotten most everyone’s attention.

Frates, a former Boston College baseball star who has suffered from ALS for the last several years and is in the fight of his life, was behind the “Ice Bucket Challenge” that swept through both social media and traditional media. What started as a Boston College phenomenon now has professional athletes, politicians, celebrities, and everyone in between dumping buckets of ice-cold water on their heads for a good cause.

The rules of the challenge are simple: if nominated, you have 24 hours to dump the bucket or you have to make a donation to a charity dedicated to curing or researching ALS. Even though many have done the dumping of water, myself included, many others have still donated.

Pete Frates’ efforts to “strike out ALS” in this creative way have not at all been in vain. Quoth NBC News:

Challenge accepted or not, donations have been pouring in. According to The ALS Association spokeswoman Carrie Munk, the organization has collected $1.35 million from July 29 to Aug. 11. That’s not counting donations to chapter offices around the country, Munk said. During the same time period last year, donations totaled $22,000.

In case you’re keeping score at home, that is an increase in donations of over 6,100 percent from this time last year — and rising. From a financial standpoint, the Ice Bucket Challenge has been an incredible success and we can all be proud that this quest to raise money and awareness started in our Boston College community with Pete Frates.

Some would choose to complain, and that is their right, but views such as this are narrow-minded. People are actually talking about ALS on a national scale, and for all we know, this may not have been such a popular topic of discussion since Lou Gehrig had the disease named for him.

The fact is that even though some merely think it is a fun activity, there are many participants who are donating their time to educate themselves on ALS and their monetary resources to help end it. In absolutely no way should this be construed as shameful or “slacktivism.”

There has been a constructive purpose to all of this, and Pete Frates is just one of the many we can thank.

If you want to learn more about this horrible disease and how you can help, please visit the ALS Association website.

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